Extraordinary Under 30: Michelle of Making Sense of Cents

She was in her early twenties. Her very early twenties. She held two undergrad degrees in Business and Management, as well as a Master’s in Business with a focus on Finance. All of her hard work in school had earned her a high-yielding job in the financial industry at a ludicrously young age.

One day, she turned in her notice. She was leaving it all behind.

Those looking in from the outside might have called Michelle crazy. She had a position and salary that most people work their whole lives hoping to achieve. But Michelle had something better waiting. In her off-hours, she had been working on a blog that detailed her financial journey. As Making Sense of Cents started taking off, it became clear to her that not only could she pursue a career online that would allow her greater freedom, but she could net more money by doing so.

making sense of cents blog

Today, Michelle Schroeder-Gardner’s online endeavors yield more than $50,000 per month, blowing her old salary out of the water. Much like Mr. and Mrs. Adventure, she and her husband travel the country in their RV while Michelle works remotely. Her blog not only allows her to live a rich life in income and personal experiences, but it also allows her to help others along the way.

In fact, she credits much of her wild success to the act of helping others. “I think one thing that has always helped me is that I've always been there for my readers. I write my blog posts with my readers in mind, I respond to every single email or comment I receive, and more. While it does take a lot of time and many hours every week, I love helping my readers become successful with their financial situation as well as their dreams in life.”

making sense of cents blog

Because she is so in tune with her audience’s deepest desires, she’s able to recommend products and services that will actually benefit them. It’s a win-win for everybody. Her readers gain useful tools, and she earns a cut of every sale through affiliate commission, which makes up the bulk of her earnings. In the past, she’s earned money from freelance writing and website management services, but has lately focused the bulk of her energy on her own site.

In order to keep up with all of the demand, Michelle outsources some of her work so she can focus on what she does best: writing and keeping up with reader needs. She recently hired an editor to make sure all of her content is good to go; an extra set of eyes always helps! She also contracts a tech manager, as his expertise saves her a lot of headaches and lost hours should she try to take it all on herself.

“I recommend finding out what your weak spots are in your business and hiring that out,” she advises. “This way you can spend more time doing what actually matters. For me, being able to spend more time on writing blog posts, helping readers, and growing my blog is what really matters.”

making sense of cents blog

Anyone looking at the situation today can see that pursuing Making Sense of Cents full-time was a wise decision. Michelle’s business has allowed her to pay off $40,000 in student loan debt, and live a no-strings-attached lifestyle. While she’s currently raking in $50,000+ per month, she has goals to up that number to $80,000 by year’s end. In the near future, she’ll be releasing an ebook to help online personalities with affiliate income with the goal of eventually turning it into a full-fledged course.

But what if you’re sitting on the other side of the equation? How do you know that leaving your cushy comfort zone is worth pursuing your own business, and get over the fear that things won’t work out? “My top piece of advice would be to start following your dreams as soon as possible,” Michelle recommends. “Whether that means you work on it on the side of your full-time income, or devote your whole life to it, you should start making active changes now so that you can reach your dream. Too many people let fear and failure hold them back, but you don’t know what your outcome is until you actually start.”

It’s important to note that when it comes to building an audience and the mechanics of blogging, Michelle was completely self-taught. She used her off-hours to learn how to build her business, and then, when she felt comfortable that it could sustain her, she pursued it full-time, never looking back. If you have a dream, and are willing to put in the effort, you can pursue it. If you let that fear hold you back, you may just be saying no to a future that’s leagues better than the one you’re so scared of giving up.


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Femme Frugality is a personal finance writer and contributor at Invibed. She loves adventure, baseball, and naps, and hates paying full price for anything. You can learn more about her on her blog.

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